I just returned from 10 days Nicaragua with my brother. A trip like this always fills me up and reminds me why I travel.
And 4+ more quotes to celebrate 4 years of GiveLiveExplore and attempting to live deliberately.
There’s a Henry David Thoreau quote that has narrated my journey since I began wandering – physically, professionally, philosophically – four years ago.
The quote helped inspire the tagline for this site: “Tales from a Deliberate Journeyer.” From Walden, it’s a sentiment that I believe sums up the motivation behind many women and men’s decision to heed their call to adventure. Mine included.
A couple months ago Thoreau’s words magically entered my periphery once again, but in an unlikely place: my daily commute in London. I didn’t notice them at first. Walked straight past. Alone in the subway hall, I back-peddled slowly, leaned my head to the side and breathed a curious “Huh.”
One of the eeriest parts of life is when things–situations, places, people, topics, ideas, opportunities–align before your eyes. For me, the alchemy seems strongest at the intersection of the books I read, the places I explore, the people I meet, and the conversations I have. In travel, all four have the chance to play.
My story, of course, is one of many coincidences. I’m convinced most are if we’re paying attention. My 2012 European wander (and subsequently the story of it in my TEDx talk) felt like an opus of spectacular coincidences and chance encounters, leading to one grand finale: I’d accidentally pass through Metz, France, the very place my love for travel was born, and the place where I’d pay proper homage to my friend whose death instigated the journey in the first place.
Three recent encounters made me ponder once again the mystery of coincidence.
If the first (and second) rule of Morning Pages is Do Them First Thing Upon Waking, the third rule must be Never Go Back And Reread Them, and the fourth is certainly Don’t You Dare Let Anyone Else Read Them Either.
Morning Pages creator Julia Cameron says:
“Do not reread these pages or allow anyone else to read them. Ideally, stick them in a large manila envelope, or hide them somewhere.”
I love Cameron and her practice. But this week I prefer to rip a page from Bruce Lee’s book:
“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”
Since according to some I’ve already broken the first two rules (I start them after I’ve showered and had breakfast, while on my commute to work), I may as well break the third and the fourth. Or rather, “add what is specifically my own” to them.
We love to talk about the times when things go well.
We enjoy showing how our well-laid (or even ill-laid) plans happen to work out just right.
Of course, it’s more fun to write about the good times. It’s easy to lay down a 10-step plan to making that first bold step, especially when that first bold step worked out so well for me; it feels like inspiration to trumpet out Just Do It! calls to action; it’s self-affirming to tell you to say “Yes” to your adventures; it’s gratifying to preach “leap and the net will appear.” After all, the net seems to occasionally appear for me. And so it will with you.
But what if the net doesn’t appear? What about the times when things go horribly wrong? What happens when we say “Yes” to our adventure, and instead of a glorious and romantic jaunt, we’re sent swirling down the shitter?
“I have learned and unlearned how to live hundreds of times…I go through a period of euphoria, which gradually dissipates.”
–Paulo Coelho, Aleph.
I’m back in Cleveland, Ohio right now, hanging in my hometown (image below) until I decide upon my next move — which quite possibly may be to London in a couple weeks.
This weekend I stumbled into full detox mode, cleaning out the little bit of stuff I still have here. Bookshelves and desks, papers and mementoes, clothes and such. In the process, I’ve discovered a few old notebooks and some letters to myself. I thought it appropriate to share them here.
“Man’s life is like iron; if you use it, it wears away, if not, the rust eats it.” –Cato
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I need to offer an apology to you all.
Maybe you noticed. Maybe you didn’t! I sure did though. I’ve neglected this site and you readers over the past several months. And I’m sorry I have.
Every time I looked at the bookmarked pages in my Chrome browser, I’d see the bright orange G of GiveLiveExplore glaring back at me, asking me, begging me — when you gonna post again, ya slack ass?
The reason I haven’t posted much here is because I’ve been heads down over the past three months working with the Escape the City family to build something called The Escape School — a physical school in the heart of London with the mission to deliver “the career, life & startup education you never got at school.” It’s our answer to help more people avoid this:
“The worst thing in life that you can have is a job that you hate, that you have no energy in, that you’re not creative with and you’re not thinking of the future. To me, might as well be dead.”
—Robert Greene (via Ryan Holiday)
I’ve been 120% focused on The Escape School over these months, dedicated to the mission and the team in a way I haven’t been dedicated to something in a long time. It’s the hardest and longest I’ve worked since my consulting days at IBM. It’s also the most rewarded and challenged I’ve felt in a while.
Photo of flooding in Serbia & Bosnia and Herzegovina, via Anonymous Srbija.
You may be aware that Serbia and the other Balkan countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina & Croatia are experiencing devastating flooding right now.
It’s the worst flooding the area has experienced in over 120 years. There’s massive destruction of streets, buildings and homes. The death toll is rising. Over 25,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, most of which have been destroyed. Those families are in desperate need of food, water, clothes, blankets, medication, and other necessities.
It’s also possible that you had no clue anything terrible was happening in Serbia. It’s even possible you don’t know where Serbia is (no, it’s not Siberia, the really cold area in Northern Russia; Serbia is in Southeastern Europe). To be honest, if Serbia didn’t mean so much to me, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention either.
Here’s the thing: I’m not Serbian. Nor do I live in Serbia. So why in the world do I care so much about Serbia?